By: Connor Garrett – August 5, 2016
Every generation has a bone to pick with the other — but what if we’re both wrong?
I have a bit of an unsubstantiated theory: Revolutionary people and true game-changers are cross-generational hybrids.
These hybrids reach childhood or are born from the ashes of the previous generation. In this way, they are poised to become the leaders of their generation.
But the most important factor has nothing to do with age — it’s cultural.
Generational hybrids — the truly great ones — absorb the best characteristics from both generations.
What does a generational hybrid look like?
Well, first, instead of looking at what’s wrong with “the other,” let’s look at what’s right.
The Gen-Xer’s grew up as the Cold War was coming to a close and much of their perceptions were shaped by watching their parents get laid off during economic and seeing politicians lie.
They were the first generation to not do as well as their parents did financially.
Millennials grew up in the wake of 9/11 and terrorist attacks and with digital media.
We are an optimistic generation that hopes to turn around all the “wrongs” we see in the world today.
We were kept busy as kids — in fact, we were the first generation to grow up with a schedule as children.
These cultural influences factored into some distinct and fascinating characteristics for both generations. Here are a few of the positives of each:
Gen-Xers are known to be against the “establishment” at large. They are willing to change, crave independence, and are results-oriented, self-sufficient, self-starters, who are willing to take on responsibility and the extra time it takes to get a job done.
Millennials are ambitious but not entirely focused. We are at ease with technology and are well-educated. Millennials are confident and diversity-focused and we’ve led a push into multiculturalism.
We are fiercely independent, scheduled, structured, and have a global way of thinking. Millennials think outside-the-box, are individualistic yet group oriented, open to new ideas and crave change. We respect competency over titles and we want to make a difference in the world.
When these attributes merge you get the Gen X-Millennial Hybrid. They account for some of society’s most successful and powerful individuals.
In fact, Mark Zuckerberg is the premier hybrid of our era — with the best attributes of both generations, he is designed to conquer the digital age.
Obviously, Zuckerberg isn’t the only great Gen X-Millennial Hybrid out there, but his traits make him an ideal illustration of how we can embody the best of Gen-x and Millennial characteristics to live and perform optimally.
Like your good ol’ Gen-Xer, Zuckerberg has never had a problem going against authority or the establishment — which resulted in numerous legal battles. He’s results-oriented and adaptable as evidenced by the evolution of Facebook from its origins to now.
And like a typical Gen-Xer, he is definitely a self-starter — there really wasn’t a blueprint for social media on such a massive scale…nope, not even Myspace — and yet, he pioneered it and continued to push Facebook through the stratosphere.
Now, Zuckerberg is technically a millennial and like his peer group, he is ambitious and entrepreneurial as shown by that little Facebook thing he started.
He’s also pretty good with technology — and as the premier social network, Facebook has been arguably at the very heart of multiculturalism and globalism.
Another strong millennial attribute Zuckerberg possesses is his out-of-the-box thinking. He was looking into virtual reality before it had piqued public interest, and — trying to connect it to his users on Facebook.
Lastly, in true millennial fashion, Zuckerberg is always looking for the next big thing and how to evolve.
Can anyone become a hybrid?
The truly important thing is that we avoid tagging ourselves or others with negative labels — that’s not to say we shouldn’t be honest and critical for the sake of self-improvement.
It just comes down to a few different philosophies of improvement. Some people believe in working on weaknesses primarily.
However, I’d argue that the hybrid is able to enhance their strengths to such a degree that their weaknesses are totally eclipsed by their positive characteristics.
The hybrid is a mindset. These people have grown up in the transitions, and often their brilliance comes from intuitively adopting the best of both sides. But you can choose to be fluid. You can choose to exist as something that can’t be confined to the past or even the present — you create your own future and write your own reality.